On this joyous first day of Kwanzaa, I bring you greetings! Christmas in my home went well, but I have to say my mom out-did herself this year. Dealing with Christmas without Mitzi has been hard, and my mom brings out this gift like you have to open this one first. What is it you ask? A teddy bear made of all of Mitzi’s old clothes. I’m not sure why but it alone is the best gift I’ve ever received other than Mitzi herself. This makes it just that much easier.
So Habari Gani!?! Swahili for “What’s the good news?” is the greeting for those celebrating Kwanzaa! We answer with the specific principal of the 7 principles of Kwanzaa for that day, today being, Umoja or unity. For those who don’t know, Kwanzaa is a holiday to celebrate the God and his influence in the African American family, African American heritage, and African American experience. It allows for those who celebrate it to reflect on their personal ancestors, family, future and life and then to join with others in the community doing the same to improve our community. This is probably the deepest holiday I celebrate as I am given a chance to really spend time contemplating each of our 7 principles including Umoja (Unity), Kujichagulia (Self-Determination), Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility), Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics), Nia (Purpose), Kuumba (Creativity), and Imani (Faith). Each evening we light one of the Mishumaa Saba or candles in the Kinara that stands for the principle of the day, and the eldest in the family leads a discussion surround their experience of that principle and its place in our family. This is definitely a great family tradition, one of my favorites!